The Republican Party's US presidential betting odds took a tumble last week after Ben Carson announced his withdrawal from the political race. The retired neurosurgeon had been one of the early favourites among the Republican candidates, but a failure to offer any concrete solutions to foreign policy issues saw him fall out of favour in the last few weeks.
Ben Carson's farewell could greatly impact the 2016 Republican Primary as his supporters are most closely aligned with the second-favourite, Ted Cruz. With Carson's supporters now without a horse in the race, the bookmakers have had to respond, which means Trump's odds have come in again but so have Cruz's.
Carson first hit the headlines in 2013 when he took on Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast. Sitting on the dais alongside the president, Carson criticised Obama's progressive taxation and health care reforms and remained unapologetic after the fact. It was that speech that won him a lot of conservative fans, and it was the ensuing wave of support he was hoping to ride towards the White House.
In the lead up to Christmas it looked as though this confidence was justified, as Carson was receiving 12.5% of the support in Republican polls and odds of 14/1 with a number of bookmakers. But with the race reaching a climax, Carson recently bowed out; he stated that despite the fact people "love him", they "just don't want to vote" for him.
At the start of the campaign trail Trump was lagging way behind the pack at 150/1 with the top sportsbooks in Las Vegas; however, after courting controversy from all sides, he's managed to capture the public's imagination and move into the betting lead.
A look through Paddy Power Sports' 2016 US presidential election odds shows that Trump is now the 8/15 favourite for the Republican vote, with Ted Cruz a distant second. That dynamic is one that's replicated at Coral Sports, with Cruz pegged at 3/1 and Marco Rubio in third with odds of 8/1.
Trump is the favourite with odds makers, political experts and media alike to win the Republican nomination but don't let that fool you into putting all your money on Trump. The 2016 US primaries have been one for the ages as outsiders like Trump and the Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders are breaking decade old political trends creating an especially volatile and unpredictable betting field.
Most national polls have Trump leading yet the leaders of the Republican Party are banning AGAINST Trump, claiming he doesn't represent their party's views and has kidnapped their voters. This unique inner-turmoil has produced extremely rare circumstances where some leaders are pushing for a contested convention, meaning none of the candidates (even Trump) secure the required majority of delegate votes.
If the rarely seen contested convention occurs, expect to throw out all the previously used strategies as hysteria will break out and certainly impact the odds.
While the demise of Carson appears to have buoyed Trump's odds in the Republican race, the growing likelihood of the billionaire's victory is slowly sinking his party's overall odds in public opinion. According to NetBet Sports' odds makers, a Republican president is now an 8/5 long shot, while the Democrats are placed at 1/2.
Paddy Power Sports' odds experts appear to agree with the current party betting lines, favouring the Democrats 4/9 vs 7/4. Of course, anything could happen, but with Carson out and Trump looking like the hot tip to take the Republican race, Hilary Clinton's betting lead is starting to increase.
Despite talk of the infamous email scandal looming in the background, Clinton is a staggering 1/33 to take the Democratic Party vote ahead of Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden at Coral Sports. If the betting experts have got it right, this would make it a Trump/Clinton showdown with the current weight of opinion backing the latter.
The current odds have Clinton as the 4/9 favourite over Trump (3/1) should Trump secure the Republican nomination. The demise of Carson appears to have helped Trump's chances of success, but it's also aided the Clinton campaign. With more runners yet to fall, we can expect to see the odds shift again in the coming weeks, but exactly how they will change is anyone's guess.
For the latest odds on the US Republican Primary race, visit Coral Sports today!